Q. Can you provide the comparative production figures of cumin for 2001 and 2002 in Turkey?
A. Mr.Ahmet Kaynar of Turkey replied that the production of cumin during 2001 was 6,000 tons. He also informed that, it is too early to project the production for the year 2002. The sowing of the crop will be completed by February/March only. The general indication is that more area is likely to be brought under cultivation. It is felt that the production will be around 20,000 tons for the year 2002.
Q Why the production of cumin has declined inspite of an increase in the area of cultivation?
A. To this Mr.Kaynar replied that the quality of seeds got depleted as the farmers are using the same seeds repeatedly. Moreover, the drought in Turkey has also affected the yield. As the same area is used for cultivation for years together, the fertility of the soil got depleted.
Q. What is the volatile oil content in Turkey?
A. Mr.Kaynar replied that the volatile oil content of Turkish cumin is above 2%, but in the last two years, the oil content has come down. To another question, he answered that there are no restrictions on trade between Turkey and Syria. Since Syria is unable to conform to ASTA standards, Turkey imports cumin from Syria and processes it and exports it conforming to ASTA standards. He also pointed out that there is no speculation, as Turkey has no resources to support any such speculative activity.
Q. What is the mechanical drying in vanilla?
A. Mr.Hank Kaestner informed that M/s.McCormick has developed and patented the process of mechanical drying of vanilla in 1960. The validity of the patent expired in 1980. Uganda has developed a method for mechanical drying and they have obtained a regional patent for the process.
Q. What would be the total demand for vanilla?
A. On the demand side, Mr.Kaestner was of the opinion that the prevailing demand for vanilla in US and Europe is around 2000 MT. As there is only limited growth in demand, any ambitious expansion in production of vanilla may pull down the price, and the growers should be well aware of this fact.
On the future price projection, he pointed out that it is very difficult to predict the future price for vanilla, and it is to be remembered that the current prices are very much on the higher side and this is not likely to continue in the coming years.
Q. Can Vanilla be grown under polyhouses?
A. Vanilla is highly susceptible to Fusarium fungus. So it is not advisable to go in for production of vanilla under polyhouses. He added that the present Indian system of cultivation of vanilla as an inter-crop with coffee, tea, coconut, arecanut, etc. is ideal.
Intervening the discussion, Mr.A.K.Thakur, Chairman of the Session wanted to know whether cultivation of vanilla is feasible in North Eastern region like in South India.
Normally areas in the coastal region are ideal for vanilla cultivation. We can try vanilla cultivation in North Eastern region, but lack of dry weather conditions may have some bearing on the yield.
Q. What is the demand for ground paprika in Europe? And how is the demand growing?
A, Mr.Michael Rendlen replied that though exact prediction of demand for ground paprika is difficult, there is clear indication of growth in demand for paprika powder.
Q. When there is excessive supply in pepper, why is it subject to wide fluctuations in prices? Will it lead to a supply response by farmers?
A. Mr.Fuad Shamsuddin of Singapore replied that even when there is a shortfall in supply, the changes in demand will lead to corresponding price fluctuation.
Q. In recent times, a lot of flexibility of sourcing of spices by the importing countries? Could you comment on this?
A. To this, Ms.Tina Schiller fully agreed that there is flexibility in the sourcing in recent years to avoid risk element. This is because buyers resort to competitive sourcing from different origins as part of the risk management strategy. They are more concerned on quality, price and reliability rather than country. In this context. Mr.Kaynar informed that buyers and sellers should take risk judiciously and when they enter into contracts, they should honour it.
Mr.A.K.Thakur, Chairman of the Session wanted the august audience to deliberate on the following issue:
Q. Spices are used in extraordinarily small quantities in food. We have heard about food safety and quality concerns during the session. Is it fair to apply the same MRLs used for rice and potatoes [which are consumed in large quantities] to spices?
A. Mr.Michael Rendlen fully agreed to the logic in this argument, but pointed out that law makers do not distinguish between less consumed and more consumer items. They treat all food items at par. Any move to change this will invite resistance in the context of present day consumer protection. As the issue involved has political dimensions, it has to be addressed at that level.
Mr.M.S.A.Kumar, Chairman, All India Spices Exporters Forum added that this issue was discussed during the recent visit of the Indian Spice delegation to EC. Under the new EU laws, Residue levels in spices are very low compared to products like apples. The consumption of spices as per the FAO is 1.74 gms per person per day.
Mr.Kiranjit Singh Bajaj of M/s.Avtar Singh & Co. Mumbai made a comment that we face detention due to aflatoxin and pesticide residue in spices, but alcohol and tobacco which are more harmful are not subjected to such stringent quality inspections.
Mr. Anil Shah, Harris Freeman, USA
Mr. Shah commented that the production of Black Pepper in all producing countries will continue to increase and this will lead to further decline in price. He was in agreement with the production figures of black pepper, but felt that consumption figures arrived at in India, viz., 40,000 tonnes is on the lower side. He is of the opinion that it should be around 50,000 tonnes. The industry has witnessed the price falls for pepper in 1992 also. At that time Vietnam was not a major player. In the coming two years Vietnam will emerge as the dominant player in the international pepper market.
Ms. Tina Schiller, Mccormick Global Ingredients Ltd, Cayman Islands
According to her, market for spices is highly volatile. If we analyze the price trends, we could see a typical business cycle with low and high prices for the commodities. Another impact is the relationship between the buyers and sellers. Quality specifications and consumer expectations are becoming crucial factors and the market requirements are not static, but continue to change. Food safety is becoming a major issue in spice business, which is constantly changing. General trend is that there is reduction in number of suppliers and buyers. There is pronounced decline in the number of suppliers when the reliability becomes more relevant. Buyers will choose only those suppliers who have proven track records.
Mr. Bart Van De Put, Caldic Food, Belgium
He congratulated the organizers for arranging such an international event, which is highly useful to the industry. He raised doubts about the prevailing market situation and production of vanilla. He thanked the Chairman of the Session and other Speakers for the nice presentation.
MR.KAMALESH KUMAR SHETH, MITHULAL LALAH, CHENNAI
MR.KAMALESH SHETH MADE SPECIFIC REFERENCE ON THE QUALITY ASPECTS OF PAPRIKA. HE OPINED THAT PAPRIKA IS A FAST GROWING SPICE AND INDIA HAS TAKEN STEPS FOR THE PRODUCTION OF PAPRIKA AS PER THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE BUYERS IN RESPECT OF HEAT AND COLOUR VALUE. DEPENDING UPON THE DEMAND, WE HAVE COMMENCED PRODUCTION OF PAPRIKA WITH 20,000 - 25,000 SCOVILLE UNITS.
For improving the quality of the paprika produced in India, we have taken many steps at the post harvest level. This may not produce desired results immediately, but will definitely produce result in the near future. At present, our concerted effort is to produce paprika free from aflatoxin.
Pesticide is a major problem affecting the export of chillies from India. We are in a very difficult situation to overcome this problem. The importing countries have fixed MRLs for pesticide residue at very low levels. The developed countries may reconsider the issue and fix the MRLs at realistic levels.
Mr.Cen Guo Hui, Guangxi, Guangxi Wuzhou Native Produce I/E Corp, China
Mr.Cen Guo Hui is a key exporter of Cassia, dry ginger and chillies . In the present set up, food safety and quality is more important. They are the major suppliers of cassia to India, Pakistan and Middle East.
Q. IS THERE ANY CHANGE IN MOISTURE LEVEL IN THE COURSE OF CHILLIES BEING STORED IN COLD STORAGE, AND IN PARTICULAR THE MOMENT IT IS BROUGHT OUT OF THE COLD STORAGE? WHAT IS YOUR OBSERVATION?
A. MR. PERAIAH REPLIED THAT THE FARMERS BRING CHILLIES TO COLD STORAGE WITH VARYING LEVELS OF MOISTURE. CHILLIES WITH LESS MOISTURE CONTENT WILL ALSO BE AFFECTED BY THIS. IF THE PRODUCT WITH SAME MOISTURE CONTENT IS BROUGHT TO THE COLD STORAGE THIS PROBLEM CAN BE SOLVED. HE FELT THAT ONCE THE CHILLI HAS BEEN TAKEN OUT OF COLD STORAGE THERE IS A CHANCE FOR ABSORPTION OF MOISTURE.
Q. FOR GOOD HANDLING PRACTICES WOULD YOU RECOMMEND ALLOWING CHILLIES STORED IN COLD STORAGES TO BREATHE BEFORE SHIPPING THEM OUT IN CONTAINERS. PLEASE COMMENT.
A. MR. PERAIAH REPLIED THAT THE CHILLIES ONCE BROUGHT OUT FROM THE COLD STORAGE WILL SHOW AN INCREASE IN MOISTURE ABOUT HALF PER CENT. HENCE IT CAN BE SHIPPED DIRECTLY. HOWEVER, THERE WAS CONSENSUS OF OPINION FROM THE AUDIENCE THAT FROM THEIR EXPERIENCE, IT IS PREFERABLE TO DRY CHILLIES ONCE TAKEN OUT FROM COLD STORAGE BEFORE SHIPMENT.
Q. HOW MUCH PERCENTAGE OF FARMERS ARE AS ENLIGHTENED AND AS WELL INFORMED AS YOU? HOW CAN WE EDUCATE ALL OTHER CHILLI FARMERS TO ENSURE CLEAN CHILLI?
A. ACCORDING TO MR. PERAIAH ANY FARMER CAN GET HIMSELF EXPOSED TO THIS INFORMATION FLOW AND RESPOND. HE ALSO SAID THAT HE GOT HIMSELF EDUCATED THROUGH REPORTS AND OTHER SOURCES AVAILABLE IN THIS REGARD.
MR. M S A KUMAR, CHAIRMAN OF THE SESSION INTERVENED AND STATED THAT THE ONGOING PROGRAMMES OF THE SPICES BOARD IN EDUCATING THE FARMERS ON BETTER CULTIVATION PRACTICES SHOULD BE STRENGTHENED.
Q. WHETHER IT IS NECESSARY TO PLANT MARIGOLD IN THE BORDER OF THE CHILLI AREA AND WHETHER THE FLOWERING OCCURS IN TIME WITH THE CHILLI FLOWERING?
A. THERE IS NO NEED TO PLANT MARIGOLD IN THE BORDER OF CHILLI AREA. WHAT IS REQUIRED IS THE PLANTING OF FEW MARIGOLD IN A SCATTERED WAY IN THE CHILLI AREA. SINCE MARIGOLD FLOWERS BEFORE CHILLI, TWO OR THREE TIMES REPLANTING HAVE TO BE DONE.
Q. WHAT ARE YOUR GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS AND OBSERVATIONS ON SHIPPING SPICES IN REGULAR CONTAINERS V/S VENTILATED CONTAINERS?
A. MR. DOLING YEE REPLIED THAT HE HAS NO SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATION ON THIS. MR. R K MENON INFORMED THAT IT IS ALWAYS ADVISABLE TO GO IN FOR VENTILATED CONTAINERS TO AVOID DAMAGE DUE TO MOISTURE.
Q. WHY THE INDIAN EXPORTING COMMUNITY IS NOT TAKING ADVANTAGE OF OUR GM-FREE STATUS?
A. MR. M S A KUMAR, CHAIRMAN OF THE ALL INDIA SPICES EXPORTERS FORUM AGREED THAT WE REALLY HAVE GM-FREE STATUS. HOWEVER, THERE IS AN ONGOING PROJECT WITH THE INDIAN INSTITUTE OF SPICES RESEARCH, CALICUT TO CREATE A DATA BASE ON THE GMO. DR. Y R SARMA, DIRECTOR OF THIS INSTITUTE INFORMED THE AUDIENCE THAT THE PROJECT IS UNDERWAY.
Q. CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE LINKAGE BETWEEN FLAVOUR CREATION AND PRODUCTION OF SPICES?
A. THERE IS NO LINKAGE BETWEEN FLAVOUR CREATION AND PRODUCTION OF SPICES AS SUCH. A PARTICULAR FLAVOUR IS DEVELOPED IN FINE TUNE WITH THE CUSTOMER NEEDS AT THE PROCESSING STAGE BY SUITABLE BLENDING.
Q. WHAT IS THE SCOPE FOR POPULARIZING MEDICINAL USES OF SPICES ?
A. MR. RAJ REPLIED THAT THERE IS TREMENDOUS SCOPE FOR MEDICINAL USES OF SPICES. THE CURATIVE PROPERTIES OF THE SPICES ARE NOW BECOMING MORE POPULAR AND THE MEDICINES BASED ON THE SPICES AND HERBS ARE ASSUMING MORE IMPORTANCE NOWADAYS.
Q. AMERICAN CONSUMPTION OF SPICES IS 600,000 TONNES. HOWEVER, THE WORLD TRADE IS 500,000 TONNES. PLEASE CLARIFY.
A. MR. RAJ CLARIFIED THAT THE AMERICAN CONSUMPTION OF SPICES INCLUDES PRODUCTS LIKE ONION, GARLIC, SESAME SEED AND MUSTARD SEED. SOME OF THEM ARE PRODUCED IN THAT COUNTRY ITSELF. THE FIGURE OF 500,000 TONS INDICATES ONLY GLOBAL EXPORTS (AND EXCLUDES DOMESTIC CONSUMPTION).
Q. HOW EUROPE BUYS PEPPER FROM VIETNAM WITH ONLY THREE PARAMETERS LIKE MOISTURE, EXTRANEOUS MATTER AND LITRE WEIGHT? PLEASE CLARIFY.
A. MR. COLLLIN GILLIE REPLIED THAT EUROPE IS SOURCING PEPPER FROM NEW ORIGINS INCLUDING VIETNAM AND IMPORTS PEPPER ONLY IF IT MEETS THE QUALITY STANDARDS SPECIFIED FOR THE PRODUCT IN THE COUNTRY OF IMPORT.
Q. JAPAN IS USING LOT OF FRESH GINGER IN SLICED FORM. CAN YOU EXPLAIN A LITTLE ABOUT SUCH GINGER? HOW CAN IT BE PRODUCED IN INDIA FOR JAPANESE MARKET?
A. MR. NAOKI KATSURAGAWA REPLIED THAT JAPAN IMPORTS FRESH GINGER FROM CHINA AND THAILAND. THE GINGER IS HARVESTED BEFORE MATURITY, PEELED, SLICED AND EXPORTED TO JAPAN. THIS COULD BE TRIED IN INDIA ALSO.
Q. KINDLY EDUCATE US ON THE TYPE OF PACKAGING ADOPTED IN OTHER MAJOR SPICE PRODUCING COUNTRIES.
A. MR. DOLING YEE REPLIED THAT THE PACKAGING SHOULD BE IN CONFORMITY WITH THE NEEDS OF THE BUYING COUNTRY. THIS HAS TO BE DISCUSSED IN DETAIL IN A COMMON PLATFORM.
SUMMING UP THE SESSION, THE CHAIRMAN, MR. MSA KUMAR ENLIGHTENED THE AUDIENCE ABOUT THE NEED FOR ADOPTING BETTER AGRICULTURAL OPERATIONS AND POST HARVEST TECHNIQUES IN SPICE PRODUCTION. A UNIFORM SAMPLING AND TESTING METHOD HAS TO BE EVOLVED. WHILE FIXING STANDARDS THE GROUND REALITIES IN THE SPICE PRODUCING COUNTRIES WHICH ARE MAINLY DEVELOPING COUNTRIES ALSO HAVE TO BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION. A CLOSER INTERACTION BETWEEN THE DIFFERENT STAKE HOLDERS VIZ. THE GROWERS, EXPORTERS AND THE CONSUMERS IS NECESSARY FOR THE FUTURE GROWTH OF THE INDUSTRY.
Mr.Tim Appleton, Technical Manager-Bart Spices, UK
THE PANELIST MR. TIM APPLETON AGREED THAT PESTICIDE RESIDUES AND AFLATOXIN ARE VERY IMPORTANT ISSUES IN EU. AT PRESENT EU IS IN THE PROCESS OF OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCING THE LIMITS FOR AFLATOXIN B1 AS 5 PPB AND TOTAL AS 10 PPB. HE INFORMED THAT THE LEVELS WILL BE BROUGHT DOWN TO 2-5 PPB IN THE NEAR FUTURE. HE ALSO STRESSED THE NEED FOR ADOPTION OF IRRADIATION TECHNIQUES. CONSUMER RESISTANCE TO IRRADIATION IS WANING. IF A PRODUCT IS IRRADIATED, SUITABLE LABELING RULES ARE TO BE COMPLIED WITH INFORMING THE CONSUMER ABOUT THE IRRADIATION.
Mr.Kirandip Swani, Swani Corporation Ltd, Mumbai
MR. KIRANDIP SWANI MENTIONED THAT FROM MR.PERIAH'S PAPER IT IS CLEAR THAT HOW EFFECTIVELY THE PESTS CAN BE CONTROLLED USING ECO-FRIENDLY METHODS WITHOUT DISTORTING THE ENVIRONMENT. HE ALSO POINTED OUT THAT THE RECENT EXPERIENCE IN GROUNDNUT CORROBORATES THE POINT THAT PLANTS IN THE DROUGHT-AFFECTED AREAS ARE MORE PRONE TO AFLATOXIN CONTAMINATION. HE ADDED THAT WE SHOULD REALIZE THAT FOR QUALITY, THERE IS A PRICE.
COMMENTING ON THE POINTS RAISED BY MR. DOLING YEE, MR.SWANI COMMENTED THAT OPENNESS ALWAYS BRINGS TRUST, LEADING TO LONG-TERM PARTNERSHIP AND RELATIONSHIP, WHICH IS A WIN-WIN SITUATION.
ON THE PRESENTATION BY MR. NAOKI KATSURAGAWA, MR. SWANI OPINED THAT THE JAPANESE FOOD HABITS ARE VERY UNIQUE AND IT REFLECTS A HARMONY AMONG LIFE STYLE, NATURE AND FOOD. ON THE IRRADIATION ISSUE, MR. SWANI STRESSED THE NEED FOR VIEWING THIS WITH AN OPEN MIND, WITHOUT ANY EMOTIONAL ENTANGLEMENT. SPICES BOARD AND GOVERNMENT SHOULD TAKE POLICY INTERVENTION IN THIS DIRECTION.
MR.COLIN GILLIE, KERRY INGREDIENTS EUROPE, UK
MR. COLIN GILLIE INFORMED THE AUDIENCE ABOUT THE POST HARVEST CONTROL ON MYCOTOXINS. TO CONTROL THE AFLATOXIN IN SPICES, APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY SHOULD BE ADOPTED AND THE IMPROVEMENTS MADE SHOULD BE AT A REASONABLE COST. THERE SHOULD BE CLOSER RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE BUYERS AND SELLERS TO ADDRESS THIS ISSUE. HE COMMENTED THAT LOT OF EFFORTS HAVE BEEN TAKEN IN INDIA TO CONTAIN PESTICIDE RESIDUE ISSUE AT POST HARVEST LEVEL. APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY HAS TO BE EVOLVED AND THE SUGGESTED IMPROVEMENT SHOULD BE AT REASONABLE COST. BUYING AND PRODUCING COUNTRIES SHOULD MOVE TOGETHER IN THIS AREA AND SHARE THE COST.
REGARDING IRRADIATION METHOD TO STERILIZE SPICES, HE STATED THAT TECHNICALLY IT IS A VERY GOOD METHOD AND ULTIMATELY THE COUNTRIES HAVE TO ACCEPT THIS. ON THE POINTS RAISED BY MR.ALPHONSE RAJ, HE COMMENTED THAT THE DEVELOPMENT OF FLAVOURS IS IN LINE WITH THE CUSTOMER PREFERENCE.
DR.SEBASTIAN KASTRUP, WIERTZ, EGGERT, JOERISSEN, GERMANY
DR. S. KASTRUP COMMENTED THAT QUALITY AND FOOD SAFETY ISSUES HAVE TWO DIFFERENT APPROACHES. ULTIMATELY, THESE TWO ISSUES WILL BE INTEGRATED INTO ONE IN LINE WITH THE CONSUMER EXPECTATION. HACCP IS BECOMING A DEVELOPMENTAL TOOL IN THIS CONTEXT.
AS RIGHTLY POINTED OUT BY MR. DOLING YEE, DR. KASTRUP FELT THAT INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT IS THE NEED OF THE HOUR AND PESTICIDES SHOULD BE JUDICIOUSLY USED. IT WAS ALSO SUGGESTED THAT ADEQUATE SAMPLING PLANS FOR SPICES SHOULD BE GENERATED AND THE SAME SHOULD BE ADOPTED BY ALL THE PRODUCING AND IMPORTING COUNTRIES. THIS WOULD REDUCE THE RISKS OF BOTH BUYERS AND SELLERS.
THE ANALYTICAL LABORATORIES ARE FACING SERIOUS SITUATION WITH THE INTRODUCTION OF NEW PRODUCTS. THE QUALITY OF SOLVENTS USED AND THE PRESERVATIVE AGENTS ARE CAUSING PROBLEMS ON ANALYSIS OF THESE PRODUCTS. THERE IS AN URGENT NEED TO STANDARDIZE THE METHODS OF ANALYSIS FOR NEW END PRODUCTS.
MR.R.K.MENON, TATA TEA, COCHIN
MR. R K MENON COMPLIMENTED ALL THE SPEAKERS FOR THEIR EXCELLENT PRESENTATIONS. HE STRESS THE NEED FOR A CLOSER UNDERSTANDING OF THE ISSUE ON PESTICIDE RESIDUES. THERE IS A NEED TO STANDARDIZE THE NUMBER OF PESTICIDES TO BE TESTED IN EACH PRODUCT AND METHODS TO BE FOLLOWED FOR THE ANALYSIS OF THE SAME.
FOR PRODUCTION OF SPICES BY ENVIRONMENT FRIENDLY METHODS, FARMERS HAVE TO SPEND MORE TO PROTECT THEIR PRODUCE FROM PESTS AND DISEASES. BUYER SHOULD BE WILLING TO PAY FOR THE ADDITIONAL COST INCURRED IN THIS ASPECT.
AT PRESENT, SPICES SECTOR HAVE NO STRONG LOBBY TO PRESENT ITS CASE FORCEFULLY. THE PARAMETERS FOR SPICES ARE UNILATERALLY FIXED WITHOUT TAKING INTO ACCOUNT OF CRUCIAL FACTS LIKE LOW CONSUMPTION AND ARE CATEGORIZED ALONG WITH MAJOR FOOD ITEMS LIKE WHEAT AND RICE, WHICH ARE CONSUMED IN BULK. A STRONG CLOUT IS NECESSARY TO SUBSTANTIATE OUR ARGUMENTS IN PROPER FORUMS. INDIA EXPORTS ONLY 7-8% OF THE CHILLIES PRODUCED. MORE THAN 7 LAKH TONNES OF CHILLIES ARE SOLD IN THE DOMESTIC MARKET, WHERE MRLS HAVE NOT BEEN PRESCRIBED. ALL MAJOR SPICE ASSOCIATIONS IN PRODUCING AND IMPORTING COUNTRIES SHOULD INFLUENCE THEIR RESPECTIVE LEGISLATIVE BODIES IN FINDING A SOLUTION TO THIS ISSUE.
SOME OF THE IMPORTING COUNTRIES ARE RELUCTANT TO DISCLOSE THEIR SAMPLING PLAN AND METHODS OF ANALYSIS FOLLOWED. AS PER THE WTO THERE SHOULD BE TRANSPARENCY IN METHODS OF SAMPLING AND ANALYSIS FOLLOWED. THERE IS A NEED TO HARMONIZE THE SYSTEM TO BE FOLLOWED.
Q. What would be India's stand on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) issue?
A. Dr. Damodaran felt that we should not follow a precautionary principle in this context. When it is the question of trading we should take a balanced approach not opposing GMO products and we should avoid a restrictive approach. As far as WTO is concerned, this is covered under SPS Agreement. Parallely, a "Bio-Safety Protocol" has been signed (in which USA is not a signatory) covering GMO issues.
Q. Will the high subsidy given by consuming countries which are mainly developed economies, adversely affect the Indian spice industry?
A. DR. DAMODARAN REPLIED THAT AS THE MAJOR COMPETITION IN SPICE SECTOR IS BETWEEN DEVELOPING ECONOMIES, WHERE SUBSIDY ELEMENT IS NOT THAT SIGNIFICANT, SPICE INDUSTRY IS NOT AFFECTED. PERHAPS, IN THE CASE OF HERBAL TRADE, WHERE WE HAVE TO COMPETE WITH DEVELOPED ECONOMIES THE HIGH SUBSIDY GIVEN MAY AFFECT OUR EXPORT PROSPECTS.
Q. Can you explain what is a process patent?
A. It is a patent on a method or a process, which could result in a new old product.
Q. India has a total monopoly on the production and export of celery. Why it has not found any domestic market? Is there any possibility of new application?
A. Celery is comparatively a new crop in India, which was introduced 20 years back and is grown in Punjab and Haryana region. It is used as a seasoning and research is on to discover its new uses/applications.
Q. What is the market potential for capsaicin?
A. Recently, capsaicin has been included under the USP (United States Pharmacopoeia). M/s Johnson & Johnson has commenced marketing a product, which is a painkiller and anti-inflammatory. In Singapore and Australia, a product containing 0.25 - 0.75% capsaicin is sold for tropical applications.
Q. Garcinia extracts had a booming market for controlling obesity. Is it on the way out as one observes demand falling off in the last two years?
A. It is true that the market growth has come down and garcinia extracts has started behaving like commodity. Though at present there is a glut and the price has come down, further development of new product from garcinia extract will again revive the market.
Q. When there are no MRLs for chillies, how can the Australian health authorities reject imported consignments? And why are the Australian Health Authorities not willing to share the testing methodology with exporting countries on pesticide residue?
A. Mr. Greg Roche of ANZFA replied that the enforcement department has detected some residue and hence rejected the consignments. Regarding sharing of information on MRLs, he stated that the testing laboratories usually keep this as confidential because of commercial reasons.
Reacting to this Mr. R K Menon wanted to know whether the Australian authorities could be more transparent on this. Mr. Greg Roche replied that a clear answer to this cannot be given.
Q. How long will Germany maintain its national legislation on Aflatoxin and pesticides for spices?
A. Dr. Bas Drukker replied that Germany could maintain national limit until EU limit is published. A time limit will be prescribed as soon as EU adopts such a directive for implementation. As long as there is no trading problem, the country of destination has to justify the high MRLs rather than the country of origin.
Q. FDA publishes monthly detention list with a mention "Detained w/o Exam". What is the fate of these consignments?
A. Ms.Elizabeth Ermann, ED of ASTA replied that ASTA is not familiar with this procedure.
Q. Brazil has the salmonella problem in pepper crop. Even then US imports black pepper from Brazil. Is it due to low price for the Brazilian pepper?
A. Ms.Ermann replied that this should be addressed to the traders.
Mr.C.J.Jose, Chairman of the Session made the following observations as concluding remarks:
The speakers of the Session have thrown open new exiting areas of applications for Spices. Spices are effective in the management of obesity, complexion, cancer and diabetics. This is a very promising and encouraging development. While defining future, the speakers have explored the new uses of spices, which go beyond the conventional definition of spices. He also stated that the presentation by Dr.Damodaran has helped to unravel the mysteries and implication of WTO on spice industry and added that he has succeeded in sensitizing the audience on areas where Spice Industry have to alert and pro-active.
Presentations by Dr.Bas Drukker and Mr.Greg Roche were the redeeming part of the Session. We have the representatives of Regulatory Authorities from major spice importing countries for the first time in the Congress, which is really an achievement. We do not take adversarial position vis-à-vis Regulation. We should certainly have better quality in spices for use in our own country and for export. Spices Board, strongly supported by the exporters work for better quality standards. The Chairman however did not agree to the suggestion made by Mr.Ravinder Kumar for diluting the intensity of the problem by confining quality issues only to a quality sensitive market. Quality image of the country gives long-term benefits by winning customer confidence.
Referring to the statement made by Mr. Greg Roche that there is provision for amending the food standard code, he felt that the administrative procedures should not hamstring the momentum of changes and when a change is necessary suitable amendments have to made without any time lag.
The Integrated Pest Management and disease management [IPM/IDM] developed in many spices have made positive impact and reduced the use of pesticides in many spices. If there is irrationality in any law and it is self evident, then it has to be corrected without going through cumbersome administrative procedures. The residue levels prescribed for apples, grapes and beefs, which are consumed in large quantities can not be made applicable to spices which are consumed in insignificant quantities, in grams; this logic should be reflected when the buying countries fix MRLSs and other quality standards. These issues are to be viewed in a practical perspective also.
As regards Ms.Erman's presentation, she touched upon the current status on quality front and the broad parameters, which the produce should confirm. She was of the view that after the recent developments in USA, stringent food safety and security have added new dimensions. The producers and the consumers should realize this and avoid any mismatch.
Mr. Yasuma, Yasumo & Co, Japan
Mr. Yasuma said that the consumption of spices in Japan is not likely to increase in terms of the population growth as the population growth in Japan is decreasing. However, the growing conscious among the consumers to use low salt and low fat content foods is leading to an alternative flavorings in food items. The most emerging alternative is herbal spices. In this way, there is immense scope for the increase in the consumption of spices in Japan in the years to come. The people in the Western countries are now adopting the Japanese food style, for example, Sushi, which is a combination of rice, raw fish and herbs. There is a growing tendency to discontinue the consumption of red meat and replace it with Japanese food style. Chilli paste and black pepper paste are also used in Japan along with the food items. He also felt that the Spices Board, spice suppliers and all concerned in the industry should encourage the Japanese food style based on the Natural Flavour, which is more healthy.
MS. SUSHAMA SREEKANDATH, AVT MCCORMICK INGREDIENTS LTD, COCHIN
For the last two days we have been hearing about the unfair trade practices and the growing demand for quality and safety. For quality improvement at different levels, cost is involved and we are prepared to address these issues in the right earnest. But the main hurdle is the shortage of funding. As mentioned by Dr. Damodaran, we have to tap different sources of international sessions like WTO, ITC, UNDP etc for supporting for both long term and short term quality enhancement programmes.
Referring to the presentation made by Dr. R K Bammi, Ms. Sushma mentioned that the paper shows the capabilities of India for development of new end products and production techniques to cater to the needs of the industry. By converting raw materials into value added end products, we can convert the risk in the commodity price fluctuations into opportunities.
She referred to the presentation by Dr. Greg Roche and suggested that ALARA (As Low And Reasonably Achievable) should be made practicable as the term reflects.
Responding to the presentation by Dr. Bas Drukker, it is unfortunate that if no data is made available MRL will not be fixed. Agricultural research centers, Spices Board, Ministry of Commerce and Exporters' Forum should come together in generating the data required and should be made available to the concerned agencies.
Referring to the presentation made by Ms. Elizabeth Ermann, she appreciated the role played by ASTA in addressing the major issues confronting the spice industry in USA and adopts and adapt the ASTA role model.
In her concluding remarks she stated that defining the future has not only short term impact, but has long-term ramifications affecting generations. We should be instrumental in developing new spices and new tastes for our great grand children.
Mr. Ravinder Kumar, M M Poonjiaji & Sons, Mumbai
Mr. Ravinder Kumar suggested that we can view the quality problems by segmenting global market into two; one being the highly quality conscious with 30% share of India's exports and the rest with lower quality specifications. By confining our efforts to the quality sensitive market segment, we can address the quality issues on a short-term basis with lesser efforts.
He also suggested that we should promote the exports of intermediary products instead of raw spices, which would minimize the levels of pesticide residue. As facilities like sterilization are costly with heavy capital investment, he suggested that Govt. of India should consider setting up of common facility centers for the benefit of exporters. We could also improve the quality at production front by getting technology from the developed countries and transferring the same to growers.
Mr. Robin Haller, Deli Spices, South Africa
He presented the distinct characteristics of South African markets, which has features of both developed and developing economies. He felt that South Africa offers good scope for production of chillies and paprika on a commercial scale. In the post WTO market scenario, the market access is on the increase and one should take advantage of that.
Mr. Bharath Maskai, Shree Balaji Gums & Spices, Mumbai
Mr. Bharath Maskai complimented all the speakers for their excellent presentations and felt that we have to align with the global market by up gradation of technology and quality and make use of WTO forum discussions to our advantage.
He stressed that Quality is no more a luxury, but a necessity. It is time for us to enter into strategic and technological partnership with the buying countries. Message from the presentations of Dr. Drukker and Ms. Ermann speaks loudly on the universal application of food safety.
Mr. C.J. Jose, Chairman, Spices Board thanked the distinguished delegates who have come all the way to Cochin to participate in this important event and made it a grand success. He also thanked the spices exporting fraternity and especially the efforts taken by Mr.M.S.A.Kumar, Chairman and Mr.R.K.Menon Vice Chairman of the All India Spices Exporters Forum for their concerted and tireless efforts. Special mention was made about Mr.Sanjay Mariwala, Chairman of the Business Committee, Mr.Krishna Kumar Bammer, Chairman of the Exhibition Committee, and Mr.Ajay Agarwal, Chairman, Facilitation Committee. He also thanked S.Kannan,General Convener, Dr. P.S.S. Thampi, Organizing Secretary, K.P.Somasekharan, Convener of Facilitation and Finance committee, Mr.Koshy John, Convener, Exhibition Committee, Mr.O.T.S.Nambiar, Convener of Business Committee and other officials of the Spices Board who have worked very hard for making this Congress a memorable one.
Mr.M.S.A.Kumar, Chairman of the All India Spices Exporters Forum summarized the main points emanated from the deliberations and listed out the high lights:
The commodity market is showing the typical demand supply imbalance situation especially in the case of Black Pepper where an over supply position is existing. Vanilla is currently in short supply in the global market with lower production from Madagascar. However, there is a new European Commission project of refurbishing the Madagascar plantations, which will increase the output significantly in 3 years time. As far as India is concerned, Vanilla is an emerging crop with high growth potential.
Big corporates like Griffith Labs, USA and Kerry Ingredients, Ireland are rationalizing the number of suppliers. The customers are looking for on time deliveries and look forward to suppliers honoring contractual obligations. The focus will be on few suppliers with whom the companies will enter into long-term strategic alliances. The focus has now shifted to their total cost, not simply the price. Cost reduction, mutually transparent relations and sharing of information between the Suppliers & Customers and Producing & Importing countries are becoming more important. There is a paradigm shift in business approach of many of the corporates, especially in their pricing policies. They are moving from a "cost plus pricing" model, where in the manufacturers add their expected profit margins to the costs to arrive at the selling price. The new approach is to first look at the price consumer is willing to pay, reduce the profit margin expectations to arrive at the cost target. This is the new " challenge cost" pricing model.
The string of Food Safety problems like the Mad Cow, Foot & Mouth, GMO's have increased the consumer awareness. The importing countries Governments are tightening the food safety laws to ensure a "safe food supply " chain. Product Quality and Food Safety are two sides of the same coin. If the Spice Processors follow the HACCP procedures, meeting the product quality specifications and food safety standards of the importing countries should not be a problem at all. However, for achieving the Pesticides Residues and Aflatoxin standards, there is a pressing need to backward integrate with farmers to control quality at source. Farmers are capable of giving the desired quality product to the importing countries, but at an additional cost. Therefore, the Buyers should be willing to pay a premium for a high quality product.
The range and the extent to which value can be added are showing amazing potential. Many of the end products developed from spices in Functional Foods/ Nutraceuticals, Pharmaceuticals, Cosmetics, and Prepared / ready to cook modern food items fetch quite high value, even as high as 50 to 60 times of the raw material price. The increased usage of high value added spices in food sector is linked to the developments of food processing industry.
The Spice Industry is asking for well formulated standards with a practical approach whereas, the new WTO regime is for "Precautionary Principles" instead of "Sound Science" while deciding on food safety standards. For example, Ethylene oxide is banned in Europe a while ago, the same compound is getting reregistered for continues use in USA and Australia is banning ETO use from 1 Oct 2003. Same way of sterilizing spices; but with three different approaches by 3 importing countries!!!
The AISEF and Spices Board will form the watchdog with regard to the provisions of WTO that have impact on spice industry. There is need to form strategic relationships amongst the 4 stakeholders of the Spice Industry - The Spice Industry in the growing countries, The National Governments of the growing countries, The Importing Country Governments & Spice Industry Associations and Multilateral funding agencies. Spices, which have to be registered under Geographical indications, have to be prioritize from the list of 60 already submitted by the spices board to the Ministry of Commerce. It is a matter of concern to note that under WTO, spices have been classified under cash crop and not as a food crop. This will impact the subsidy regime. The AISEF won the antidumping cases against India's paprika exports. In case of any future antidumping cases, cost data on key spices should be generated on a continuous basis with all required details.
The signal is clear - There is no compromise on quality; we are totally committed to safe food supply. A fully integrated supply chain from the Farmers to the final end users is a must to achieve our expectations on quality, cost, and service. We are very happy and proud that this Congress could address all these issues in the right perspective and bring both buying and producing countries closer. We have the technical capabilities to address all the issues on quality. We would like to be elite suppliers and we have the proven capabilities. Let us make the spice industry move forward by transforming the threats into opportunities. Thank you very much.